Headscratchers: Silent Hill 3
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Evil monsters or creepy detective? Hmmm...
- I always feel that the proper response to being confronted with a mutant horror that defies nature is to turn back and run the heck away, which is why every time I play a survival horror game I turn right around as soon as the controller is responsive and see if I can make my character just plain leave. So, what bugs me about SH3 is that Heather wouldn't leave through the real world bathroom into the real world mall because "that creepy detective is on the other side of the door". Hey Heather, know what else is creepy? Giant quadruped monsters that eat humans!
- To be fair, when she was making the comment about the "creepy detective", she hadn't seen any monsters yet. Lemme know next time you decide that a creepy possible rapist isn't dangerous because you might see a monster later.
- Heather could have thought he was a rapist, and judging from the first boss she encounters, she's very, very afraid of that sort of thing. Alternatively, I don't understand why she couldn't just climb up on the van in the alleyway (How in the hell did it get there, anyway?) and scoot off.
- Again, she hadn't seen any monsters yet. Climbing all over someone's car instead of just trying to walk out through the mall like a normal person would seem like a ridiculous option to her then.
- Except that she's walking through the back parts of the mall that normal people aren't supposed to be in.
- You can go back into that alley after seeing the monsters. She still says the same thing.
- If I remember right, as soon as you encounter the first Closer, Heather is willing to immediately try the bathroom door without hesitation and the lock's been broken. The person in the bathroom stall also disappears as soon as the first encounter happens. Basically "Silent Hill mode" has been triggered and there's no going back.
- SH is messing with her by switching whatever town she's in with a Dark World version. So why doesn't she take advantage of the situation, being one of the four only people populating it, by stealing cash from as many registers in the shopping mall as she can get away with? She has enough weapons to try, at least, and momma needs money to buy those New Game+ blouses!
- You know, I recall Heather at one point actually mentioning wishing that one of the shops with a locked door was open, because there was something in there she wanted. So Heather at least thought about looting the place. And if we take into account all the item collection, then Heather is already stealing stuff in the game as it is.
- If you decide to take Shattered Memories as canon, then it also shows that Heather is not above shoplifting.
- Word of God says that Shattered Memories is in a different continuity.
- Harry probably laid the "stranger danger" on very thick while raising Heather, to avoid her getting caught by The Order.
Buy a cell phone, Heather!
- The game was released in 2003, but no definite year is given in-game. But it took place 17 years after SH 1, so it's safe to assume that the game's setting is somewhat modern. Why, then, does Heather's dad buy her a stun gun, but no cell phone?
- Honestly, SH 1 may have happened in the seventies and SH 3 may well be happening in the eighties for all we know. The SH games avoid modern technology like the plague, so placing each is really difficult if not downright impossible.
- If Silent Hill 3 is set in 2003, then Harry may not have wanted to buy anything that could be traced, like a cell phone. Remember, they are on the run from a cult that wants to kill his daughter and bring about the end of the world.
- Silent Hill 3 is officially in 1997, so no cell phones.
- Cell phones existed in 1997... hell, they existed in the '80s! But the games kind of imply that cell phones wouldn't work in Silent Hill anyway. The Movie made sure to point that out as well, except unlike the games, it was blatant and without question.
- I vote for untraceable myself, even still, to tack on more dates for you, officially Silent Hill Orgins is set in 1972, Silent Hill 1 is in 1980, followed closely by Silent Hill 2 in 1994, then finally by Silent Hill 3 in 1997. There are a few time line acknowledgments made in SH 3 about when everything actually happened.
- Some sources say that Silent Hill 3 is set in 2000. Still within the time frame of when not everyone had a cell phone.
- According to Alex Shepherd's diary from Homecoming, Silent Hill Origins is set in 1976, making Silent Hill in 1983 (7 years after Origins), Silent Hill 2 in 1993 (10 years after Silent Hill), and Silent Hill 3 in 2000 (7 years after Silent Hill 2 and 17 years after Silent Hill).
- While cell phones did exist in the 90's, not everyone had them back then. This troper didn't get a cell phone until 2003, so it's not unreasonable to assume that she just didn't have one.
- Harry is a writer, and not a too-famous one at that (after all, he's not exactly looking to draw any attention on himself, even if he is publishing under a pen name). I kind of feel like, even through cell phones WERE around in '97, it's extremely unlikely that they would be able to afford one in a time when cell phones were more viewed as a luxury and not nearly, nearly as prevalent as they are now. This still kind of bothers me, though, because Harry is obviously over-protective (although it is justified over-protectiveness, don't get me wrong) enough to go so far as to want Heather to call him as she's leaving the mall. This troper doesn't think she had lax parents at all, and that seems pretty ridiculous. For Harry in that state of mind to not ensure that Heather had a cell phone despite the cost does seem pretty weird. I just have to tell myself that it's not something they could afford, since I think the idea of Harry being crazy enough to be worried about being "traced" by a cell phone is a little far-fetched. BUT I do want to add that Silent Hill 3 doesn't "officially" take place in 1997. There aren't any official dates at all until Silent Hill Origins, which attempted to give dates to the series and then failed miserably. So this could all really be a big moot point anyway.
- It's more likely that Harry just plain couldn't afford a cell phone for Heather at the time. Remember, he's a single dad on the run from a cult who made every effort not to break the illusion for his daughter, and is very likely to have had issues stemming from his experiences in the first game. If he was still writing at that point, he probably wasn't getting paid regularly and had to carefully ration his income in order to be able to support a daughter and remain low-profile without her ever finding out. As to the phone call leaving the mall, that's not that unusual: she has to take a subway home and walk back herself, which would be dangerous even in the best of circumstances, so Harry would want an idea of when to expect her back. This is a guy who literally has gone to Hell and back for his baby girl, he just needs to know what time is appropriate to get the katana and the hunting rifle out of the closet in his room.
I'm sure that crazy woman with a knife won't hurt me!
- What the hell made Vincent think it'd be a terrific idea to turn his back on a clearly insane woman with a dagger?
- Sheer cockiness, which is totally in character. I suspect he was so certain that Claudia needed him that she could do nothing against him even in the face of his betrayal.
- It doesn't even need to be that; remember that they've known each other since they were children. He might have assumed that there was no way she'd ever hurt the closest thing to a childhood friend she has left, considering how much losing Alessa screwed her up.
- Not that I was looking too closely, but did Claudia even have the knife visible before Vincent turned around?
- Not from what I remember, if I'm recalling correctly, Vincent getting stabbed was a total surprise. The camera deliberately showed Vincent falling over in pain, with Claudia behind him and the knife in her hands.
The superpowers are a lie
- Throughout the course of the game, we kind of see Alessa's personality reassert itself anyway, so why didn't Alessa do anything to stop Harry's murder? There's something disturbing about how Alessa chose to summon the "memory" of herself to try to kill Heather to stop the god from being born later on, but chose not to help Harry in his greatest time of need? Rule of Scary and all that, but that shouldn't let Konami slide on consistency and characterization. OR Alessa suspected, like Harry seemingly did, that it was inevitable that The Order would come back and try to ruin Heather's life.
- She wasn't aware of it. Remember, Alessa is extremely powerful, but ONLY within the bounds of Silent Hill, so she probably isn't directly aware of things that happen outside her area of influence; Heather does have those memories dormant in her psyche, but the actual powers of Alessa remain in the town itself (which is what makes the Possessed ending so meaningful: she 'picks up' the evil power of Alessa while she's in town). Heather regains the memories and subconscious powers of Alessa AFTER she returns to Silent Hill, which she only does after Harry is murdered. That was the point of killing him: Claudia wanted her to go back to Silent Hill and become Alessa again.
- Or to put it another way, Alessa and Heather aren't separate people. Heather is Alessa with Identity Amnesia, and "Memory of Alessa" is a Starfish Character created by the conflict between her memories as Alessa and her current personality as Heather. Alessa stepping in to save Harry would really be Heather unconsciously using her powers, and Heather didn't know Harry was in danger.
Heather likes her nurses sexy?
- Why do the nurses still look like the sexy nurses from 2? Shouldn't they look like the ultra deformed ones from 1? According to the wiki, they symbolize her mistrust of hospitals, but then why do they look pretty damn human? The sexy nurse represented James's frustrated libido; does this mean that Heather has repressed lesbian urges? I seriously want to know because they look more humanlike than 2's.
- Or it could be UST between Alessa and Lisa. Think about it, Lisa was one of the few people that Alessa saw on a regular basis after she was put in the hospital. There was also a chance that Lisa was still her nurse till she was 14, and hormones start to kick in. It could be Sitch Sexuality, especially since Lisa was quite good looking. Heather even goes as far as to refer to her as being 'Heavenly'.
- It could be attraction due to Lisa having sympathy for and being kind to Alessa, too.
- From Lost Memories, "it may be that the nurses of the hospital transformed into monsters, but the details are unclear". So they might not represent anything from Heather's mind, just people turned into monsters.
- In the first game the nurses (and doctors) are normal people, but have parasites attached to their backs. It's definitely possible these are people transformed into monsters as well.
- They might also represent her own sexuality. Gay or straight, lots of teenagers are awkward or even scared of their sexuality, and the game plays a lot on teenage fears.
- This is what I thought of when I saw the nurses, too. Heather seems to have some anxieties about sexuality that go a bit beyond the norm, given the fact that her monsters so often represent genitalia and fears of sexual violation.
- In the second game, there's a boss battle where James fights another character's manifestation of their past trauma, indicating people's other worlds can overlap. Later in the game the same creature appears again, a lot smaller and weaker. Even though it was "someone else's" creature, once he encountered it, it seemed to become a permanent fixture for him as well. Heather visits the same hospital James visits... Perhaps his nurses are left behind, and appear slightly different to be more "normal" for Heather?
Who's Valtiel working for again?
- Valtiel is shown having the Seal of Metatron on his body, with the implication that he's either Metatron or one of Metatron's subordinates. If that's the case, then why is he trying to ensure the cult's god's birth? Wasn't Metatron stated to be opposed to the town's dark forces in the first game?
- Valtiel IS Metatron, really. Metatron wasn't even mentioned in the first game, so whoever told you that is full of crap.
- The Seal of Metatron is what Alessa was using to seal off the town in the first game. That said, it's just "the seal of Metatron", a name for a magical mark. There's no mention of the actual angel named Metatron having any involvement, and the entry on it says it's a neutral power that can be used for both good and evil.
- To directly quote Dahlia in Silent Hill 1 : "I was shocked to hear that the Seal of Metatron was being used." So yes, it is mentioned. Otherwise, OP, I'm not seeing a problem? Alessa used the Seal of Metatron in order to seal away the nightmare she was accidentally inflicting on the town, which would be in her interests. Heather is Alessa, and Valtiel (supposedly) drags Heather away to revive her when she's killed - how is this a conflict of interest? If the Seal was a symbol Alessa used and it's now on Valtiel, who is helping Heather... I'm not seeing what the issue is. Regardless, like the troper above mentioned, the Seal of Metatron is actually a neutral symbol that gives power regardless of the intentions of the one using it. Although, apparently in 3, it's actually completely meaningless when it comes to stopping God...
- I always assumed that the problem wasn't that magical circle form of the seal Alessa created in 1 was meaningless, but that the trinket Heather got from Leonard was just a guide illustrating how it should appear for those with the power to create the real deal (and Vincent's plan might have ended up working if the thing had triggered a few memories of how to use Alessa's powers in Heather). Completely powerless on its own, but mundane cult members like Vincent and Leonard don't really get how the magic works and figured, hey, that thing has the Seal on it so it must be powerful!
Heather really hides that baby bump well!
- If Heather is "pregnant" with the cult's god, how come she never develops a noticeable baby bump even by the end of the game?
- Well, considering she also throws up the fetus later, it's probably reasonable to assume it's not developing in the same manner as a normal baby... I always assumed it was a kind of spiritual entity incubating inside of Heather's own spirit (hence why Claudia needed to "fill her soul with hatred," etc.) and that it only gained a physical form when it was forced out - either by birth or by aglaophotis.
- Yeah, considering I'm fairly certain that your digestive and reproductive systems aren't connected, this is what I buy!
- I figured the "pregnancy" was taking place throughout Heather's body, and the aglaophotis was just condensing it into one place in Heather's stomach before it was ready; it adds another layer of nightmare fuel if you imagine that that's how Heather would have given birth, if the cult's god had been mature. The other possibility is that human digestive systems don't connect to the reproductive organs, but we don't know how human Heather really is...
- There's no indication that she's not a relatively normal human being, outside of having telekinetic powers. So, it seems pretty unlikely that she was pregnant with the cult's god in the same way that a person would be literally pregnant with a fetus. All of the graphic symbolism related to birth in the game is really just symbolism, and probably doesn't reflect what would have happened if Heather had actually "birthed" the god. From its birth scenes in both the first Silent Hill and this one, it seems most likely that it's born from the soul (and probably destroys the body) of the person incubating it.
- For reference, try shooting at Claudia instead of using the aglaophotis. See how Heather "births" the god...
- It's possible that, since Heather took the aglaophotis orally, it had an emetic effect on her. It went in one way and took the evil back out the same way. Also, there's the fact that the "god" "completes" its birth after being swallowed by Claudia, which may mean that the "god" doesn't need a womb to be "born".
Blind to the Truth
Something I noticed: very few of the monsters in SH 3
had eyes. The exceptions are: "The Glutton" and "God".
Very few Silent Hill 2 monsters had eyes either. This, and the fog, might've represented James Sunderland's inability to see a simple truth: he killed Mary.
this is righted in the end, when the final boss Mary or Maria
Is Heather the same? Her Silent Hill also has fog, perhaps to represent her clouded memory of her past as Alessa. The two monsters that have eyes are God (after she 'opens her eyes' and realizes who she is,) and the Glutton, who she gets rid of by saying the magic spell "Tu Fui, Ego Eris" (meaning I was you, you will be me), which could be a foreshadowing of her dual identity as both Heather and Alessa.
Of course they look like monsters!
- This is more about the fandom, but why do so many people believe the 'They look like monsters' theory? I mean, Vincent was wrong about several important points, and could have been crazy himself. Also, in each game, you can kill hundreds of monsters. If there was someone killing hundreds of people, they would have nuked the hell out of Silent Hill. How am I suppose to believe that a 17 year old girl is capable of killing HUNDREDS of people, and several dozen dogs?
- Leonard is/was definitely a human. The Book of Lost Memories says that the Missionary boss is a transformed cultist. The Scraper enemies are basically lesser versions of the Missionary, so they're likely to be humans. I don't think that the other monsters are human; rather, they relate to Alessa's memories and the forthcoming birth of the God, as in the first game.
- The key here, though, is "transformed". Some of the monsters used to be human, but that's a different matter from the theory that all the monsters actually are human and the heroes are running around on psychotic killing sprees.
- Wait, wait; you can't believe that a seventeen year old girl could kill hundreds of ordinary humans, but you can believe that a seventeen year old girl could kill hundreds of extremely dangerous monsters?
- Yup. Look at the fourth paragraph down from this one; monster behavior is "keep shambling towards the puny human bashing in your friend's skull with a pipe," while human behavior is "panic and run away from the fucking lunatic bashing in your friend's skull with a pipe." It's much easier to believe when you look at it that way.
- Well then, you just solved your own mystery, didn't you? The monsters don't run away, therefore, they're not human.
- I might be misremembering, but I thought Douglas was the first to say, "They look like monsters to you?" Then, Vincent echoed it later. Again, I might be wrong, but if two people did say this and at least one of them isn't insane....
- Vincent's the only one. Douglas said "what was that monster?" after the mall changes back to normal. If anything, Douglas confirms that at least one other person besides Heather thinks they're monsters. Even Claudia knew what Heather meant and didn't act surprised when Heather referred to them as monsters before that, when they first met.
- This point is probably irrelevant but also bare in mind how the second game showed the Otherworld as different for each person, so therefore shouldn't the creatures be? Douglas only definitely sees one monster, and it may not have been anything Heather sees.
- The "they're actually innocent people" thing sort of reminds me of the "Ferris Bueller is a figment of Cameron's imagination" theory: people latch onto the mind-blowing aspect of it, but they don't give it any actual, y'know, thought. When you do, you quickly realize that the "monsters" of Silent Hill really will attack and kill you if you let them, none of the other "monsters" panic or flee for their lives when you bludgeon one of their number to death with a steel pipe, and that a bunch of uniformed "monsters" never show up in police cruisers to put a stop to your murderous rampage at any point. They look like monsters, yes, but they also BEHAVE like monsters. It gets a good shock out of Heather, but it holds very little water as a legitimate answer for what the monsters are and what they're doing in the town. All told, "Vincent's just fucking with her" sounds like a much more credible theory.
- I personally have always held the idea that the monsters are "angels" within the cult's religion. When Heather asks Claudia about them, she says "They have come to witness the beginning. The rebirth of paradise, despoiled by mankind." This suggests that they are certainly not human. The fact that the Missionary and Scraper enemies still retain mostly humanlike characteristics suggests that they have partially been transformed into the image of these angels. I think, to Vincent, the monsters look like beautiful angels, which fits in with the whole "Silent Hill is different for everyone" theory.
- Thank you. Thank you so much. There are very few things that annoy me about fandoms, but this is one that always riles me up. Everybody always quotes that line, but never quotes the follow-up line: "Don't worry, it's just a joke." This is like people going "Oh man, the Bible had such a wham line in it where it's all like 'There is no God'. And that's like an actual direct quote and totally isn't out of context." (Psalm 14:1, 'case anyone's wondering)
- Slightly different to the above, as Vincent is part of the cult, the monsters may not literally look different to him, it's that he sees them differently to Heather. As a cultist, though Vincent sees the same grotesque twisted heaps of flesh and bone that Heather does, his religious indoctrination means he sees them in the context of being divine, glorious beings. Since the cult is strongly hinted as the dominant religion of Silent Hill, he may never before have met someone who doesn't perceive them the same way. It's like a person who's a huge pit bull lover and who grew up in a town where everyone felt the same way meeting a person who fears and loathes pitbulls for the first time. As touched upon in this fan article on the cult's history here.
Monsters Have a Conflict of Interest
- If Claudia is trying to arrange the birth of the cult's god (and the god itself is presumably what's making the Dark World appear), then isn't it disingenuous for the monsters to attack and try to kill Heather? Wouldn't her death be detrimental to bringing about "Paradise?"
- With the exception of the Missionary, Claudia's not controlling the monsters. The monsters and otherworld are all Alessa's trauma manifesting anew through Heather (as Harry said in the flashback to the first game, it's "a world of someone's nightmarish delusions come to life"). For the first half of the game, the monsters are just attacking because that's what the monsters of Alessa's nightmares do, and in the second half, the ones that are wreathed in shadows are the same as Memory of Alessa: they want to kill Heather because the part of Heather that's Alessa wants to die. All of this does play into Claudia's plans, though: since the cult's god (or the Alessa-spawned manifestation of their belief in it, either way) feeds on Heather's anger and negativity, having her slaughter hordes of monsters is making it stronger (which is why the Possessed ending relies in part on killing lots of monsters).
A missing persons case?
- Douglas mentions that he had been to Silent Hill just once before on a missing person's case. Is the implication that he was sent to look for James Sunderland? Or did he mean to say that he met Claudia there when he was hired to find Heather?
- The missing persons case that Douglas was on didn't have anything to do with Claudia. Claudia hired him later to find Heather. It's possible that James Sunderland was the missing person Douglas was looking for, but that's just a theory by fans. In Silent Hill 4: The Room, it's mentioned that James' father Frank does know that James disappeared in Silent Hill, but there's no concrete proof that it was him Douglas was looking for.
- Not to mention, James isn't the only possibility by a long shot. Cybil (seeing as how it's considered canon that she doesn't survive), Eddie, Angela - any of them could equally qualify, and a police officer would probably have a higher priority.
- Except for the follow-up line "I never did find him," (emphasis mine) which strongly suggests a male, sure, it could be Cybil or Angela. And since private detectives are typically hired by people of the non-cop persuasion (and kind of pricey), you have to consider: who'd care enough about Eddie to send a PI after him?
Roller coasters are selective?
- When Heather is in the 'real' version of the amusement park and has to walk down the tracks, why doesn't simply falling off the tracks trigger the cutscene? Heather had turned off the coaster, so she of course had no idea that it would come on again. Yet her jumping off triggers the cutscene, and falling off due to the weird controls kills you. Unless Alessa decided to turn the coaster back on at a specific point so she could jump off at the right spot, this doesn't quite make sense.
- Probably another case of Silent Hill playing on people's fears...